Monday, November 30, 2009

Let It Be

By the Beatles. I'm days behind on this project! Feel free to chastise me liberally. Or feel liberal to chastise me freely - whichever. It'll probably help.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Heveinu Shalom Aleichem

TenaciousFlea guest-starring:
Ukulele cover of a traditional Israeli folk song. Translation of the lyrics: We bring Peaceful greetings to you.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas is Coming (R.U.S. Christmas Bonus)

It's the beginning of the Christmas season on the Rise Up Singing project! I'll definitely do some Channukah songs (or A Channukah song - as many as I can learn...) but for now, it's the Christmas season and we'll diversify as soon as I learn songs to diversify with.

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please to put a penny in the old man's hat
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do
If you haven't got a ha'penny then God bless you

Chords: none: this one's acappella

Friday, November 27, 2009

Beans In My Ears

D - / A D ://

Rise Up Singing has D A / - D :// but I don't think that works as well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Down By the Bay

Introduced to me by Raffi
Rise Up Singing chapter: Play, p.168

G D7 / - G / C G / - D7G
Down by the bay, where the watermelons grow
Back to my home I dare not go
For if I do, my mother will say:
*Have you ever seen a goose kissing a moose* - down by the bay!

Also: "Did you ever see a goose kissing a moose"

*Have you ever seen a whale with a polka-dot tail*
*Have you ever seen a fly wearing a tie*
*Have you ever seen a bear combing his hair*
*Have you ever seen a llama wearing pyjamas*
*Have you ever seen a llama eating its pyjamas*
*Have you ever had a time when you couldn't make a rhyme*

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Boom Boom Ain't it Great to Be Crazy?

Rise Up Singing chapter: Play, p.167

G Bm C D / G Bm C D / G Am Bm C / D - - -

G Em Am D / G Em Am D / C Bm Am G / - - D G

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Morningtown Ride

Song by Malvina Reynolds
Rise Up Singing chapter: Lullabies, p.134

Chords: D - G D / G D Em A / D - G D / G D A D

Train whistle blowing, makes a sleepy noise
Underneath their blankets go all the girls and boys
Heading from the station, out along the bay
All bound for Morningtown, many miles away

Sarah's at the engine, Olivia rings the bell
Isabel swings the lantern to show that all is well
Rocking, rolling, riding, out along the bay
All bound for Morningtown, many miles away

Maybe it is raining where our train will ride
But all the little travellers are snug and warm inside
Somewhere there is sunshine, somewhere there is day
Somewhere there is Morningtown, many miles away

Monday, November 23, 2009

Grace Song (Thanksgiving Bonus)

Happy Thanksgiving number 2!

Thank You for the world so sweet
Thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the birds that sing
Thank you, God, for everything

So you sing this holding hands around the table before a meal as a grace. As taught to me by my grandmother.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sinaloa Cowboys Cover (R.U.S. Bonus)

Song begins at 1:34 runtime
I talk about Bruce Springsteen's subtle rhythm and lyrical phrasing at 6:10
and Paul Simon's subtle rhythm and lyrical phrasing at 6:48

By Bruce Springsteen, from the album The Ghost of Tom Joad.
It's not Bruce Springsteen singing it here, though, it's me, Matthew. Sometimes people get pretty confused about that.

A - - D / A - - E / A - - D / A E A -
Miguel came from a small town in northern Mexico
He came north with his brother Luis to California three years ago
They crossed at the river levee when Luis was just sixteen
And found work together in the fields of the San Joaquin

They left their homes and family
Their father said, "My sons, one thing you will learn:
For everything the North gives, it exacts a price in return"
They worked side by side in the orchards
From morning 'til the day was through
Doing the work the güeros wouldn't do

Word was out some men in from Sinaloa were looking for some hands
Deep in Fresno county there was a deserted chicken ranch
There in a small tin shack on the edge of a ravine
Miguel and Luis stood cooking methamphetamine

D - A - / D - A E / D - A D / A E A -
You could spend a year in the orchards or make half as much in one ten-hour shift
Working for the men from Sinaloa, ah, but if you slipped
The hydriatic acid would burn right through your skin
They'd leave you spitting up blood in the desert if you breathed those fumes in

It was early one winter evening as Miguel stood watch outside
When the shack exploded, lighting up the valley night
Miguel carried Luis' body over his shoulder down a swale to the creekside
And there in the tall grass Luis Rosales died

Miguel lifted Luis' body into his truck and then he drove
To where the morning sunlight fell on a eucalyptus grove
There in the dirt he dug up ten thousand dollars, all that they'd saved
Kissed his brother's lips and placed him in his grave

Friday, November 20, 2009

I Come and Stand

(Song begins at 3:00 runtime)
Words by Nazim Hikmet, English translation by J. Turner.
Melody by James Walter ("The Great Silkie of Sule Skerrie")
Rise Up Singing chapter: Peace, p.160
D C - D / - C - D / G D C D / Em - C D, or...
D C - D / - C - D / G D C D / Em C - D
(See the beginning of the video for details on that C in the last line)

I come and stand at every door
But no one hears my silent tread
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead, for I am dead

I'm only seven although I died
In Hiroshima long ago
I'm seven now as I was then:
When children die they do not grow

My hair was scorched by swirling flame
My eyes grew dim, my eyes grew blind
Death came and turned my bones to dust
And that was scattered by the wind

I need no fruit, I need no rice
I need no sweets or even bread
I ask for nothing for myself
For I am dead, for I am dead

All that I ask is that for peace
You fight today, you fight today
So that the children of this world
May live and grow and laugh and play

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sixteen Tons

By Merle Travis
Rise Up Singing chapter: Mountain Voices, p.149
Em - C B7 / Em - C B7 / Em - Am - / Em - - B7
Em - C B7 / Em - C B7 / Em - Am - / Em - B7 Em

Now some people say a man's made out of mud
But a poor man's made of muscle and blood
Muscle and blood, skin and bone
A mind that's weak and a back that's strong

You load sixteen tons and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me, 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Rise Up Singing chapter: Faith, p.46
Written by Sebastian Temple (I had been under the impression it was written by Saint Francis himself. I'm still not sure I want to accord credit to this Temple character.)

D - - - / - - A - / - - - - / - DA D -
Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred let me bring your love
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there's doubt, true faith in You

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there's sadness, ever joy

G - D - / A - D - / G - D - / E - A -
O Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we're born to eternal life
("And in death born to eternal life" fits better with the meter, if you want to take my word for it...)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pete Seeger's My Dirty Stream (R.U.S. Bonus)

I talk a lot at the beginning about my former life in Chengdu, my dream of canoeing the Hudson, and bike-riding with no hands. The song really begins only at 3:37 . I know I tend to babble.

You can download a PDF of the song here:

This isn't in the Rise Up Singing songbook, so I suppose I don't have much else to post for it. Lyrics, I guess. Might as well. Here you go:

Sailing up my dirty stream
Still I love it and I'll keep the dream
That some day, though maybe not this year
My Hudson River will once again run clear.
She starts high in the mountains of the north
Crystal clear and icy trickles forth
With just a few floating wrappers of chewing gum
Dropped by some hikers to warn of things to come.

At Glens Falls, five thousand honest hands
Work at the Consolidated Paper Plant
Five million gallons of waste a day,
Why should we do it any other way?
Down the valley one million toilet chains
Find my Hudson so convenient place to drain
And each little city says, "Who, me?
Do you think that sewage plants come free?"

Out in the ocean they say the water's clear
But I live right at Beacon here
Half way between the mountains and sea,
Tacking to and fro, this thought returns to me:
Sailing up my dirty stream
Still I love it and I'll dream
That some day, though maybe not this year
My Hudson and my country will run clear.

Words and Music by Pete Seeger (1961)
(c) 1964 (renewed) by Fall River Music, Inc.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Horse Named Bill

Rise Up Singing chapter: Play
Chords coming in the morning. I'm sleeping now in the Thailand time zone.
Love, Matthew

Ok, here they are: C - / F FG7 / C - / G C
Song begins at 0:34 runtime
There's a chord discussion at 3:02 runtime

I had a horse and his name was Bill / And when he ran he couldn't stand still
He ran away one day / And also I ran with him

He ran so fast he could not stop / He ran into a barbershop
And fell asleep / With his teeth in the barber's left shoulder

My horse Bill fond a grocery store / He ate some food then he ate some more
He ate, and he ate / And also I ate with him

My horse Bill he ate some more / He stayed all night in that grocery store
He ate and he ate / And also I ate with him
I'm going out in the woods next year / To shoot for gear, but not for deer

I am-I ain't / I'm a great sharpshootress

At shooting birds I am a beaut / There is no bird I cannot shoot
In the eye, in the ear / In the teeth and in the fingers

Oh, I went up in a balloon so big / That the people on earth all looked like a pig
Like a mice, Like a geese (or: "Like a giraffe, like a katydid")
Like fleases, and like flieses

The balloon turned up, with its bottom side high / It fell on the head of a country squire
She made a noise-like a steamboat / And, also, like a popsicle
(or: "She made a noise like a doghound / Like a steam whistle and like dynamite")

Oh, what could you do in a case like that? / Oh, what could you do, but stamp on your hat?
On your mother, on your toothbrush? / On anything that's useful
(or: "On anything that's helpless")

I had a gal and her name was Daisy / And when she sang the cat went crazy
With deliriums - St. Vituses - / And all kinds of cataleptics

One day she sang a song about / A man who turned himself inside out
And jumped into the river / He was so very sleepy

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Put Your Finger in the Air

By Woody Guthrie
Rise Up Singing chapter: Play, p.176
D - / - A7 / D GD / DA D

1. Put your finger in the air, in the air (2x)
Put your finger in the air, leave it there about a year (or: "and let it wiggle there")
Put your finger in the air, in the air

2. Put your finger on your head / tell me is it green or red?
3. Put your finger on your nose / and feel the cold wind blow
4. Put your finger on your shoe / leave it there a week or two
5. Put your finger on your chin / that's where the food slips in
6. Put your finger on your cheek / leave it there about a week
7. Put your finger on your finger on your finger / on your finger... (or: "and leave it there to linger")
8. Put your fingers all together, all together / in both dark and stormy weather (or: "and clap for better weather")

If you'd like to play it to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It" do this:
D A7 / - D / G D / A D
Rise Up Singing lists no author for "If You're Happy and You Know It", but mentions it's "based on [the] traditional hymn "Watch Your Eyes" which has the same tune."

That's all!
Check out Lew Dite's version here to compare:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hava Nagila

A traditional Hebrew song
Rise Up Singing chapter: Good Times, p.86

A - Dm A / A - Dm A / A Gm - A / A Gm - A
Hava nagila hava nagila hava nagila venisma-cha (repeat)
Hava na-ranana, hava na-ranana, hava na-ranana venisma-cha (repeat)

Dm - / - - C - / A ADm
Uru, uru achim
Ur'achim be-lev sa-me-ach (4x)
Ur'achim, ur'achim, be-lev sa-me-ach

Rise Up Singing has these chords (same, I just transposed them so Megan could sing it more easily):
E - Am E / E - Am E / A Dm - E / A Dm - E
Am - / - - G - / E EAm

Friday, November 13, 2009

We Shall not be Moved (in Spanish)

English version here
Words to version 1 from the United Farmworkers. Words to version 2 from a Salvadoran union organizer who fled death squads to take "sanctuary" in the U.S.
Melody from a Black spiritual: "I Shall Not Be Moved"
Rise Up Singing chapter: Work, p.260

G - D - / - - G G7 / C - G - / - D G -
Fuertes, fuertes, fuertes somos ya (2x)
Como un arbol firme junto al rio / Fuertes somos ya

1. Luchamos por librarnos, fuertes somos ya...
2. Luchamos por los hijos, fuertes somos ya...

2nd Spanish version:
No, no, no nos moverán (2x)
Como un arbol firme junto al rio / No nos moverán

1. Y el que no crea que haga la prueba, no nos moverán...
2. Unidos en la lucha, no nos moverán
3. Unidos en la huelga, no nos moverán
4. Unidos en sindicatos, no nos moverán
5. Construyendo el socialismo, no nos moverán
6. Y con un golpe de estado, no nos moverán

Thursday, November 12, 2009

We Shall Not Be Moved (English)

Words by anonymous textile workers and melody (and a lot of the words, frankly) from a Black spiritual: "I Shall Not Be Moved"
Rise Up Singing chapter: Work, p.260

G - D - / - - G G7 / C - G - / - D G -
We shall not be, we shall not be moved (2x)
Just like a tree that's planted by the water
We shall not be moved

1. For the union is behind us, we shall not be moved...
2. We're fighting for our freedom, we shall not be moved...
3. We're fighting for our children, we shall not be moved...
4. We'll build a mighty union, we shall not be moved...
5. _________ is our leader, we shall not be moved...
6. We are black and white together, we shall not be moved...
7. We are young and old together, we shall not be moved...

Spanish version in the next video!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Words by Joseph Scriven, melody by Charles C. Converse
Rise Up Singing chapter: Gospel, p.98

D G D A / D G DA D / A D GD A / D G DA D
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Seventy-Six Trombones

From The Music Man
D - A - / - - D - / - D7 G E7 / A E7 A -
D - A - / - - D - / - D7 G E7 / A - D -
Seventy-six trombones led the big parade
With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand
They were followed by rows and rows of the finest virtuosos
The cream of every famous band
76 trombones caught the morning sun
With 110 cornets right behind
There were more than a thousand reeds springing up like weeds
There were horns of every shape and kind

G CG D7 - / - F# G - / - CG D - / A - DA D7
G CG D7 - / - F# G - / G CG C F# / G D7 G -
(bridge) There were copper bottom tympani...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Heartbeat (Bonus)

By Buddy Holly

G - C D G -
Heartbeat, why do you miss when my baby kisses me?

G - C D G - / D C G - / C - G D
Heartbeat why does a love kiss stay in my memory
Pitity-pat, I know that new love thrills me
I know that true love will be

G - C D G -
Heartbeat why do you miss when my baby kisses me?

G - C D G - / - - C D G - / D C G - / C - G D
Heartbeat why do you skip when my baby's lips meet mine ?
heartbeat why do you flip then give me a skip beat sign ?
Pitity-pat , and sing to me love's stories
and bring to me love's glory

G - C D G -
Heartbeat, why do you miss when my baby kisses me?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Song of the Soul

By Cris Williamson
Rise Up Singing chapter: Faith, p.47

A E / - A / - D / E A

Open mine eyes, that I may see

Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me
Open mine eyes, illumine me
Spirit divine

A ED / E DE / A ED / E A
Love of my life, I am crying
I am not dying, I am dancing
Dancing along in the madness
There is no sadness, only a song of the soul

E - AD A / D E D A / E - AD A / D E A -
And we'll sing this song, why don't you sing along?
And we can sing for a long, long time
Why don't you sing this song? Why don't you sing along?
And we can sing for a long, long time

What do you do for your living?
Are you forgiving, giving shelter?
Follow your heart, love will find you
Truth will unbind you, seek out a song of the soul

(Or: Truth will unbind you, sing out a song of the soul)

Come to your life like a warrior
Nothing will bore you, you can be happy
Let in the light, it will heal you
And you can feel you, sing out a song of the soul

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Trouble in Mind

By Richard M. Jones
Rise Up Singing chapter: Hard Times and Blues, p.105
Chords: E B7 E A7 / E B7 E (B7)

Trouble in mind, I'm blue, but I won't be blue always
For the sun will shine in my back door someday
Trouble in mind, that's true, I have almost lost my mind
Life ain't worth livin', I feel like I could die
I'm gonna lay my head on some lonesome railroad iron
Let the two-nineteen train ease my troubled mind
Trouble in mind, I am blue, my poor heart is beating slow
Never had such trouble in my life before
I'm going down by the river, gonna take me a rocking chair
And if the blues don't leave me I'll rock on away from here
Well trouble, oh trouble, trouble in my worried mind
When you see me laughing, I'm laughing just to keep from crying

Friday, November 6, 2009

Simple Gifts

Traditional Shaker
Rise up Singing chapter: Faith, p.47
D - / A - / D - A GD /
DA D / - A / D - / A GD

I sometimes play a straight D with no switch to A on the first bar of the second line ("When true simplicity is gained...") like this:
D - / A - / D - A GD /
D - / - A / D - / A GD

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be
And when we find ourselves in the place just right
'Twill be in the garden of love and delight

When true simplicity is gained
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed
To turn, turn will be our delight
Til by turning, turning we come 'round right

Also possible (this is what I always thought it was):
'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free
'Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be...

And there's a new version written by Victor Ferkiss and Landon Dowdey:

The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof
Its streets, its slums, as well as the stars above
Salvation is here where we laugh, where we cry
Where we seek and love, where we live and die
When true liberty is found
By fear and hate we will no more be bound
In love and in life we will find a new birth
In peace and in freedom redeem the earth

Thursday, November 5, 2009


For PinkSalmon77, who did it for me first.
A traditional spinning song
Rise Up Singing chapter: Creativity, p.26

C - G C / C - G C / F C F C / G C G C

Low part (softly): Boomda, boomda, boomda, boomda...
Melody: Sarasponda, sarasponda, sarasponda retsetset (repeat)

Together: Ahdoray-oh! Ahdoray boomday-oh!
Ahdoray-boomday retsetset, awsay pawsay oh (asay pasay-oh!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Have They Done to the Rain?

By Malvina Reynolds
Rise Up Singing chapter: Ecology, p.39

G AmD / D G / Em Bm / C D (in G)
Just a little rain falling all around
The grass lifts its head to the heavenly sound
Just a little rain, just a little rain
What have they done to the rain?

G AmD / BmAm G / Em Bm / C G / Am D
Just a little boy, standing in the rain
The gentle rain that falls for years
And the grass is gone, the boy disappears
And rain keeps falling like helpless tears
And what have they done to the rain?

Just a little breeze out of the sky
The leaves tap their hands as the breeze blows by
Just a little breeze with some smoke in its eye
And what have they done to the rain?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

When I'm Sixty Four

By John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Rise Up Singing chapter: Time and Changes, p.229
D - - A / - - - D / - - - G / GBb DB7 E7A D
Bm BmG A Bm / - - F# - / Bm - Em - / G A D -

Monday, November 2, 2009

Loy Krathong Song

Chords (I made them up. They'll work, but I'm not promising you couldn't figure out better.)
C Am FG C / C Am DmF G / C - G - / C CAm DmF G / C - Am - / C - / C -

Lyrics: Thai is impossible to effectively romanize. I don't even want to talk about it. I'll put the Thai lyrics below, in their proper writing system.

Wan pen duen sip song nam koh nong dem daling
Rao tung lai chai ying sanook gan jing wan loy krathong
Loy loy krathong, loy loy kratong
Loy krathong gan leaw koh cheun nong keaw ook maa ram wong
Ram wong wan loy krathong, ram wong wan loy krathong
Boon ja song hai rao sook jai (2x)

The full moon of twelfth lunar month is when water fills the banks
We all, men and women, enjoy Loy Krathong
(Let's) float krathongs, (let's) float krathongs
After having floated krathongs, we invite you, my dear to dance Ram Wong (Thai dancing)
Ram Wong on Loy Krathong day, Ram Wong on Loy Krathong day
Great merit will bring us to happiness (2x)

Here's a great literal translation with proper Thai script from :

วัน เพ็ญ เดือน สิบสอง
full-moon day · month · twelve
น้ำ ก็ นอง เต็ม ตลิ่ง
water · also · overflows · full · bank
เรา ทั้ง หลาย ชาย หญิง สนุก กัน จริง วัน ลอย กระทง
we · all · many · men · women · enjoy · together · really · day · float · basket
ลอย ลอย กระทง, ลอย ลอย กระทง
float · float · basket · float · float · basket
ลอย ลอย กระทง กัน แล้ว ขอ เชิญ น้อง แก้ว ออก มา รำวง
float · float · basket · together · and then · ask · young · beloved · come out · dance
รำวง วัน ลอย กระทง, รำวง วัน ลอย กระทง
dance · day · float · basket · dance · day · float · basket
บุญ จะ ส่ง ให้ เรา สุข ใจ, บุญ จะ ส่ง ให้ เรา สุข ใจ
making merit · will · make · us · happy · making merit · will · make · us · happy

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Who Built the Ark?

Who Built the Ark? -Noah! Noah!

Who Built the Ark? -Brother Noah built the ark

Now didn't old Noah build the ark?
He built it out of hickory bark
He built it long, both wide and tall
Plenty of room for the large and small

Now in came the animals, 2 by 2
Hippopotamus and kangaroo
Now in came the animals 3 by 3
Two big cats and a bumblebee